Thursday, November 4, 2010

Slow and steady

does not actually win the race.

But that's OK.

Chris and I - via the Fall Fitness Challenge - participated in our first 5K race this past Sunday. The 32nd Annual Spooky Run sponsored by the Greater New Bedford Track Club.

We arrive early to get our "bibs" (the race numbers you put on the front of your shirt) and meet up with the rest of the FFCers. I'm number 363. We all stretch and enjoy looking around at folks who've come to the race in costume. A middle-aged man in a bridal gown and veil (his bushy mustache is the perfect finishing touch), quite a few pumpkins, two Vikings, a number of cats, and - my personal favorite - the team of five serious runners wearing all sleek, serious black running gear adorned with festive pink or purple sparkly headbands, pink or purple striped socks and short, bunchy tu-tus in either pink or purple. The lone guy on this tu-tu wearing team (in purple) looks pretty hilarious. "Hey, I was totally drunk when I agreed to do this!" he says with a huge grin and laugh to the police officer who is ribbing him about the purple tu-tu.

It's a brisk day, but sunny. Everyone seems to be in good cheer. We make our way to the starting line and wait for the 10Kers to take off. As I'm heading to the back of the pack where the walkers start, Trainer A walks beside me and says, "Awe, c'mon. You're not going to run this thing?"

I laugh, "Oh, yeah. I'd take like twenty steps and pass out and then all of the runners would be tripping over me. That would NOT be good!"

He laughs, "It'd be kind of like a Tour de France pile up situation."


He breaks away to position himself in the front of the pack with the runners.  I place myself firmly at the very back of the pack.

At 9:05 the race officials set us free.

Surprisingly I find myself having to pass quite a few other walkers whose pace is much slower than mine. I get "stuck" a number of times behind groups of slow walkers, but finally manage to find some open space and off I go....short, quick strides with my arms at 90 degree angles pumping hard. My pace feels pretty steady. The course - through a park and around the streets of New Bedford - is relatively flat with just a few gentle hills. My breathing is steady, but I'm definitely sweating and my heart rate is up.

I pass some folks on the course and am, in turn, passed by some folks who pick up their pace. There are two women who must be in their sixties that eventually by-pass my position and leave me in the dust. I try to pace myself against them and am a bit frustrated and embarrassed that I cannot keep up with them. Especially since neither of them is breathing particularly hard or seems to be pushing very hard to walk at that pace.

Obviously, I have a lot more work to do on getting these legs and lungs of mine in shape!

Still, I manage to cross the finish line ahead of a few other walkers. Thus, I achieve my goal of not coming in dead last. Not exactly the mightiest of goals, but...what can I say? I didn't know what to expect and just hoped that I wouldn't be the very slowest person to finish the race.

So, here are my stats:

Time: 47:15
Pace: 15:13/mile
Place: 331 out of 361

I'm the last of the FFCers to cross the finish line with the next slowest FFCer to cross almost 2 minutes ahead of me.

Still, the last walker to cross the finish line comes in well behind my time - 18 minutes after me (his pace is 20:58/mile. So, while compared to the runners I am a turtle, compared to at least a few other walkers I was rolling along at a pretty decent clip.

I know that I can improve. I'm going to shave some time off of my next 5K, which I think is coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned for more details...


  1. Not finishing last is a perfectly legitimate goal. I have that goal every time I race at the Velodrome. Don't always make it, but that's ok. Keep up the hard work, Jen!

  2. Thanks, Jay! I felt like kind of a weenie for setting what seemed like a pretty lame goal...nice to know that someone else does the same thing.

    Wow - you're racing at the Velodrome? That sounds exciting and terrifying. Will have to look for photos on your FB page.